Today’s vitamin supplement industry is one of fierce competition between distributors and retailers. Numerous companies promise to bring consumers the best supplements money can buy, and often make claims of superior product components and exclusive raw material sources.
And yet the majority of vitamin supplement providers are buying their products wholesale from the same manufacturers.
It’s true. Major retailers like GNC and Vitamin World rely almost exclusively on private label production companies to manufacture and package their supplements for them.
The same is true of direct marketing companies that use independent sales representatives and multi-level affiliate networks to distribute their over-priced vitamin products. This is especially ironic, since this type of retail model often places a strong emphasis on concepts like ‘unique formulas’ and ‘patented processing techniques’ in an effort to justify their high markups.
Manufacturers like Randal Nutritional Products and Vitarich Laboratories produce and package nearly one third of all brand name vitamins supplements sold in the U.S. And Vitarich alone is responsible for the high-priced, ‘exclusive formula’ products sold by at least 21 different multi-level-marketing companies.
There is nothing particularly scandalous about this fact. But it is something I feel the average consumer of vitamin supplements should be aware of.
In essence, there is little reason to pay exorbitant prices for a vitamin supplement. I have spoken with dieticians, pharmacists, and physicians who freely recommend buying the more affordable ‘drug store brand’. As long as a supplement label bears the USP (U.S. Pharmacopeia) approval statement, you can be confident you are purchasing a quality product.
This is not to say that superior supplements are not available. But you shouldn’t take a retailer’s claims at face value.
Do a little research on a product line before spending the extra money. If a distributor doesn’t want to provide you with some basic information about the location of their manufacturing center, you should think twice about shelling out big bucks for their ‘secret formula’ supplements.